It’s not often you hear a designer discuss his industry secrets straight up, but it’s quite obvious what makes one Scottish raincoat brand unique. “The secret is in the material. The rubber-bonded cloth we use comes from a mill in Manchester that I’ve worked with for 28-years,” says Daniel Dunko, of Hancock.
Dunko and co-founder Gary Bott spotted a niche for stylish yet protective and waterproof clothing, and they’re in the process of cornering the market. It’s a fine balance; style and substance do not always go hand in hand.
We’ve all made the choice between the two, taken the vain option and been soaked on the way to work. But that’s not necessarily how your days need start, at least not if you consult Hancock before leaving the house.
Founded in 2012, Hancock’s outwear is an investment that promises not only to keep you dry but to look good and brighten up your day at the same time; the brand’s singular rubber-bonded fabric is matched only in originality by the design. “What makes a Hancock article special, except for the manufacturing process, is our focus on colour and fit. Our attention to detail is also important, with some of our articles featuring detachable collars, hoods and concealed elasticated cuffs,” says Bott.
Thomas Hancock, the Scottish inventor whose name the brand proudly carries, founded Britain’s rubber industry. When Hancock went into the stagecoach business with one of his siblings in the early 19th century, the need for an effective waterproof material – for coaches, drivers, and passengers – encouraged him to look closer at rubber as a potential solution.
In April 1820, Hancock patented India rubber for use in garments and accessories, such as gloves and suspenders. Almost 200 years later, we’re still feeling the benefits of Thomas Hancock’s Eureka moment.
“It’s classic, crafted, modern and directional at the same time. Hancock takes the knowledge and experience of working for an industry standard and reworks it for the modern man, making it more unique and relevant in one swoop,” says Simon Spiteri, buyer at east London boutique Anthem, which stocks the brand.
“Hancock is re-evaluating how this type of fabric can be used; pea coats and blazers are delivered in superbly cut shapes and punchy summer colours, there is nothing quite like it on the market today.”
Before launching Hancock last year, Bott and Dunko worked for rival raincoat makers Mackintosh. It’s quite clear, when looking at the range, that their main objective is to modernise the concept and streamline it according to 21st-century wardrobe needs.
Whereas Mackintosh – where Dunko helped the brand to evolve from manufacturers into a worldwide brand – takes a classic and traditional approach to the coats, Hancock is all about making them relevant to modern men.
Their choice of details, colour and shapes all testify to this, but nowhere else is that ethos as obvious as in Hancock’s collaboration with the London tailor Timothy Everest. “It takes an expert pattern cutter to make this fabric work in a blazer style. It’s very unforgiving to work with. I’ve rarely seen such a combination as this in menswear, particularly delivered from a UK brand,” Simon Spiteri says of the capsule collection.
For Hancock, the collaboration put their technical skills to the test: “The challenge was to realise Everest’s tailoring principles in our coat-making process, which has to be modified as we are not machining a standard cloth. The result, we feel, is an entirely elegant and refined silhouette in a handmade rubberised form,” Bott says. Come rain or come sunshine, Hancock will get you through the day.
David Hellqvist is the online editor at Port magazine